Can my employer change my job description without my knowledge then demote me and cut my salary years after they changed it?

I have been working at my job for 10 years; 2 years ago my job description was changed without my knowledge. A year ago, my annual review stated that I “met” my job expectations and that is part of my employee file. This past week they said that I don’t meet the description and have been demoted to a lower job and my salary cut. Can they legally change their mind when they said already that I did meet the new description via my review? Do I have any recourse?

Asked on November 3, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Wisconsin

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Let me ask you - do you have an employment contract or union agreement that prohibits this demotion and pay reduction; does this action violate existing company policy; is yourtreatment the result of some form discrimination (including retaliation)? If not, then I'm afraid that you have no actionable claim here.

In an "at will" work relationship, an employer can hire/fire, promote/demote, increase/decrease salary/hours, and set any other terms or condition of the workplace as it sees fit. For their part, an employee can choose to work for an employer or not.

Bottom line, while seemingly unfair, unprofessional and confusing, your employer has not violated any laws.


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